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24 September 2014

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RAF Museum, Cosford photo gallery
Consolidated B24 Liberator
B24 Liberator

The Consolidated B24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US military aircraft and first flew in 1939.

Often overshadowed by its more glamourous cousin, the Boeing B17 Flying Fortress, the B24 was used in daylight raids on occupied Europe in World War II by the USAAF, but also in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Pacific and even on North Atlantic patrol. Some 1,900 were supplied to the RAF. A specially-equipped Liberator was even used as personal transport by Winston Churchill.

Usually flying with a crew of ten, the Liberator was powered by four Pratt & Whitney piston engines, and protected by up to 10 0.5inch Browning machine guns mounted in four turrets and waist positions.

It carried a maximum bomb load of 8,000lb (considerably more than that of the B17), had a wingspan of 110 feet and a maximum speed of about 300mph. B24s also served as fuel tankers and transport aircraft.

The RAF museum's B24, serial no. KN-751, originally served with the RAF in India during the war, and was awaiting the scrap yard when Indian independence came. It was rescued and used by the Indian Air Force until 1968 and presented to the RAF Museum in 1975.

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